It was a mixed week for fans of the Grand Theft Auto series. It began with word that Take-Two Interactive, parent of GTA publisher Rockstar Games, is settling a consumer lawsuit brought against it in the wake of the "Hot Coffee" scandal. According to the Reuters news service, a New York City federal court judge stayed action on the suit after a Take-Two lawyer said both plaintiff and defendant "agreed to engage in settlement discussions with the hope of amicably resolving this matter."
In 2005, several Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas purchasers sued the publisher after sex minigames were discovered in the Mature-rated title. Among them was an octogenarian grandmother who bought the game, which was rerated AO for Adults Only before being edited, for her 14-year-old grandson.
Within hours of addressing the GTA series' past, Take-Two looked to its future. This afternoon, Rockstar sent out an e-mail blast centering on a black, monolithic Roman numeral "IV." It announced that the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV will unspool in exactly four weeks on March 29. Since all GTA games from Grand Theft Auto III on have used the in-game engine for cinematics, it is likely that the trailer will contain the first glimpse of the game in action. GTAIV will use the RAGE (Rockstar Advanced Game Engine) previously seen in Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis.
Also today, the official GTA IV Web site launched, sporting a countdown clock that will end at 3 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. That is, if it accounts for the early implementation of daylight-saving time on March 11; if not, it will end at 2 p.m. PDT.
As announced at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Grand Theft Auto IV will be released domestically for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 16. Europe will get the game three days later. It will presumably have an M rating and $59.99 price point.